The Secret World of Arrietty opens Friday

I’m looking forward to the newest creation from legendary Studio Ghibli (Ponyo). I’ve always been a fan of beautifully crafted animations since my days as a game development producer and anything Disney is bound to be a great story.

Residing quietly beneath the floorboards are little people who live undetected in a secret world to be discovered, where the smallest may stand tallest of all.  This is an animated adventure based on Mary Norton’s acclaimed children’s book series “The Borrowers.”

Arrietty (voice of Bridgit Mendler), a tiny, but tenacious 14-year-old, lives with her parents (voices of Will Arnett and Amy Poehler) in the recesses of a suburban garden home, unbeknownst to the homeowner and her housekeeper (voice of Carol Burnett). Like all little people, Arrietty (AIR-ee-ett-ee) remains hidden from view, except during occasional covert ventures beyond the floorboards to “borrow” scrap supplies like sugar cubes from her human hosts. But when 12-year-old Shawn (voice of David Henrie), a human boy who comes to stay in the home, discovers his mysterious housemate one evening, a secret friendship blossoms. If discovered, their relationship could drive Arrietty’s family from the home and straight into danger. The English language version of “The Secret World of Arrietty” was executive produced by Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall, and directed by Gary Rydstrom.

The film hits theaters this Friday February 17, 2012.

Cast Members: Amy Poehler, Bridgit Mendler and Carol Burnett in Los Angeles to promote the film.

Cast Members: Amy Poehler, Bridgit Mendler and Carol Burnett in Los Angeles to promote the film.

Apple Choc Milk Bites – Lactation Mini Muffins

I’d heard about lactation cookies and their power to increase or stabilize milk supply for lactating mothers. I don’t have any issues with milk supply, but it is something that I can’t help but wonder about – especially on the days that I exercise. I have been a little light on the exercise lately *le sigh*, I’m hoping that will change soon. After all, I need to get ready for my half marathon in April – eeek! Anyways, back to milk supply…My go to website about breastfeeding is With both this pregnancy and the last, I’d heard alot about galactagogue. What are galactagogues you ask? Well the definition from is :

A substance that increases milk supply is called a galactagogue. Some of the most commonly used herbal galactagogues are fenugreek, blessed thistle, and alfalfa. There are also several prescription medications that can increase milk supply.

Of course, if you feel you have a severe milk supply issue, you should probably seek out help with La Leche League or your doctor.

But, if like me you want to make sure you keep a steady supply while pumping extra milk for your baby, or you want to make sure heavy exercise doesn’t disrupt your flow, you can try making my Apple Choc Milk Bites. These lactation mini muffins have been created by looking at various recipes for lactation cookies, and my research on galactagogues blended together with other ingredients to create a great taste. These have a specific purpose, so there is no frosting, just yummy goodness – many of the cookie recipes I saw had waaay too much sugar and other non-essentials for my liking. Also, as someone deathly allergic to nuts, my recipe is completely nut free. The website was my main inspiration for these little goodies.

Cool Tip for Mamas

These are lower in sugar that your regular muffin recipe and taste great. The added bonus to these Apple Choc Milk Bites is that they also aid digestion. Don’t be surprised if you are suddenly a little more regular, if you know what I mean. And don’t worry about the whole family digging into these. If you aren’t already producing milk, you won’t suddenly start to (phew, my husband was wondering!). In fact, Monkey #1 loves these and identified the apple taste instantly.

The oats and the brewer’s yeast are the 2 ingredients that are the most responsible for increasing the milk supply. Oats are easy enough to find (no quick cook ones please, we want all the goodness we can get) but for the nutritional yeast, you will have to go to a health food store. And if you are wondering, the answer is yes I noticed an increase in supply. 

Wordless Wednesday: My Angels meet her Angels

Me and the Monkeys Meet Roma Downey, Exec Producer of Little Angels

Roma Downey lights up New York with Little Angels

Little Angels Executive Producer Roma Downey

Roma Downey spent 10 years coming into our living room’s as Tess’ angel in Touched by an Angel. Now, she is behind the camera as Executive Producer of her newest venture “Little Angels”. As I mentioned last week, she is launching 3 interactive DVDs on Valentine’s Day. Today I had the honor of meeting her in an intimate blogger Q&A with my two monkeys at the Four Season’s Hotel in midtown Manhattan.

Roma talked us through her inspiration to create this brand as well as a look ahead to the future for Little Angels. In a nutshell, twin brother and sister Alex and Zoe are the central characters of the DVDs, books, iPhone app and toys to come soon. They have 8 very different angels that live on their ceilings and help them to be more understanding, love and helpful children. The little angels only come to life to give advice when the parents are not around. The voice of the mother is done by Roma herself, allowing her to have a small part in the actual animations. She mentioned that her son and daughter also did voice work and guitar on the very catchy theme song. You could truly feel that this project has been a labor of love for Roma, and her enthusiasm on the eve of its launch was infectious.

When asked how she manages life as philanthropist, wife and mother, she equated it all to a juggling act. She admitted that sometimes she drops the ball, but she just picks up the balls and keeps going again. Testament to all the plans she has coming up for the Little Angels brands plus a project in the works with husband Mark Burnett to bring The Bible to television.

I asked her about her input in the character development of the very distinct Angel characters. You can hear her response in the video below.

Roma is on Twitter and can be followed at @RealRomaDowney (someone had already taken @RomaDowney!) for inspirational quotes, positive sayings and prayers.

You can find out more about Little Angels and sign up for updates on the Official Website or follow Little Angels on Facebook for the most up to date info.

God in Heaven, my Savior dear Watch over my children and draw thou near Send your little angels to be at their side To light and to guard to love and to guide.

- Inspiration for Little Angel, a prayer Roma’s mother used to say every night

Super Easy Parmesan Kale Chips

Awhile ago I did a huge amount of research on green smoothies and playing with what different veggies and fruits I could put together for the biggest punch and best flavor. Along the way I discovered kale. Kale is one of the healthiest greens around, though probably one that takes a little getting used to in the taste department. I’ve had good success with it in smoothies, mixed with bananas and flaxseed, but I’ve heard so many good things about kale chips I’ve wanted to try them. Funny thing is they are pricey, yet they seem so easy to make – so I thought I’d give it a go.

Cool Mama Tip

I’ve found that kale can wilt pretty quickly if not used within 3-4 days. The great thing about making kale chips is that you can use wilted kale and the chips taste just as good as the ones made with fresh kale. You get all the same nutrients and best of all you don’t waste any food!

Because kale chips come out so fine and are so crunchy, it is difficult to dunk them in anything without them crumbling to bits. So if you find that you want any extra flavoring, you need to add it into the baking stage (the way I’ve added Parmesan). My little guy is a pretty adventurous eater, he ate these and gave them a thumbs up. But, if you’ve got a little dude that doesn’t like veggies you can experiment with a flavoring that might entice them to try these.

wilted kale on the left and fresh kale on the right

Leapin’ for LeapPad Giveaway

Leapin' for Leap Pad Giveaway

Welcome to the Leapin’ for Leap Pad Giveaway!

This giveaway event is organized by ShePromotes and sponsored by a group of fabulous ShePromotes bloggers! We’ve come together to offer you one of the hottest children’s products of the year — the Leap Frog Explorer Tablet! Even better, as part of the event, you will have the chance to enter to win 1 of 2 Leap Frog Explorer Tablet prize packs! Yes, we are giving away 2 to 2 lucky winners!

How to enter

Use the Rafflecopter form below to enter for your chance to win. The giveaway is open to US and Canadian residents, 18+ and will be open through 11:59pm EST on February, 29th. You have until the end of the day on Leap Day to enter for your chance to win!

Please note that there are two separate Rafflecopter forms. Each prize package has its own form and its own entry requirements. You will earn bonus entries for entering on both Rafflecopter forms! Enter to win the other prize package here!

Good luck and get Leapin’ for Leap Pad!

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KiwiCanadian expat adventures with my husband and 2 kids from life in New Zealand to New York and back again. Adventures in inspired family living, travel, health & fitness.Read More »